Douglas College names Tri-Cities homeless and housing advocates as 2018 Honorary Fellows

Douglas College is presenting the 2018 Honorary Fellow award today to Sandy and Cathy Burpee, homeless and housing advocates in the Tri-Cities. Honorary Fellow is the highest distinction the college bestows.

“Sandy and Cathy Burpee’s tireless advocacy of antipoverty, homelessness and violence prevention initiatives are part of a long-time commitment to our communities that is truly inspiring,” says Kathy Denton, President of Douglas College, “Their ability to organize diverse groups to work toward shared goals demonstrates the type of leadership that is needed to tackle some of society’s greatest challenges.”

Sandy was chair of the Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group for more than 11 years. Cathy was chair of the Society for Community Development for eight years. The Burpees founded the Tri-City Together Against Violence committee, which Sandy chaired from 1994 to 1998. Sandy was a member of the Community Advisory Committee for Douglas College’s Centre for Health and Community Partnerships from 2008 to 2011.

Both Sandy and Cathy are recipients of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. Sandy has received the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, among many other accolades.

Their achievements include advocating and building community support for a permanent shelter for persons without a home in the Tri-Cities in the face of aggressive opposition from surrounding neighbourhoods.

Despite the resistance, the shelter and transitional facility, which includes 30 full-time shelter beds, 30 temporary shelter beds and 30 transitional housing units, opened in December 2015. It is operated by RainCity Housing and Support Services.

The Burpees are being presented with the Honorary Fellow award at today’s graduation ceremony at the New Westminster Campus.

“As the Tri-Cities’ post-secondary institution, Douglas College plays an important role in our community, stimulating minds and preparing young people for productive careers.  We are honoured that our work in the Tri-Cities community is being recognized by Douglas College in this way,” say the Burpees.

The Burpees join previous Douglas College Honorary Fellows Christopher Gaze (February, 2018), Elaine Golds and Dave Jones (2016), Wally Oppal (2015), Julio Montaner (2014), Peter Legge (2013), David Neima (2012), and Bill Hughes and Tim Agg (2011).

Douglas College is the largest degree-granting college in B.C., combining the academic foundations of a university and the employer-ready skills of a college to provide the most relevant and inspiring undergraduate experience in British Columbia. 

For more information, visit



Sucheta Singh

Communications Coordinator

604 527 5806

  • Current Students
  • Community